While growing your own fruits, herbs and vegetables is an obvious way to save on groceries, there are even more options for frugal gardeners. Apply some of these tips, and discover how small savings add up & make a difference in your budget.
Choose the best varieties for your garden
Gardening catalogs tempt you with hundreds of varieties to buy. Should you choose one because it looks well on the picture and costs a little? Please don’t do that, because many plants have a specific requirements and won’t thrive in your garden.
Do some research first. What are the parameters of your soil? What temperatures, season length, humidity are typical for your area? Select plants adapted to these conditions and they will reward you with larger harvest to collect. To avoid problems with pests and diseases choose resistant varieties.
When you see that your neighbors’ vegetables grow well, ask what types they have selected.
Collect seeds, start them indoors.
You can save money if you buy seeds instead of developed plants from the nursery. It is easy to follow instructions on the packet. If you grow heirloom vegetable varieties, harvest the seeds and start them next year.
For best results germinate these seeds indoors. Why? This way you give the plants a headstart of 4-6 weeks. They mature sooner and produce fruits for a longer part of the growth season.
Barter, negotiate, look for opportunities
Do you spend most of your gardening budget on buying the plants? Get the new ones without forking out your money. How? When you trim or divide thriving flora, don’t throw away the surplus. Exchange them with your friends or neighbors.
Find more bartering opportunities on Craigslist and gardening forums. Check out what others are willing to trade and post your offers. With some luck you will find people who want to get rid of rare, expensive stuff. Some folks sell their excess plants for much less than you would have to pay otherwise. Some give them away for free.
Speaking of free, when you see the plant you like in someone’s garden, ask for a small cutting. Many people enjoy the compliments and don’t mind sharing. Finally, you can transplant flora from the wild. It adapts fast and flourishes. Warning: make sure the species you pick aren’t protected, and don’t collect from conservation area!
Compost the scraps
How would you like a free fertilizer? Compost adds nutrients to the soil and improves it’s structure. You can mix grass, fresh fruit and vegetable remains, plant remains, ash, urine, straw. The more varied ingredients you add, the more rich your compost will be.
There are some things you should avoid: dog and cat feces because it contains nasty germs and meat & cooked food&it stinks and attracts animals. Leaves break down slowly, so keep them separately or use as mulch.
Composting lets you save money on trash removal, make a free fertilizer, live green, eat organic and garden sustainably.
Remember: buy plants that fit the conditions in your garden. Collect seeds and start them indoors. Barter with fellow gardeners to obtain new plants. Finally compost the remains. Discover how following these simple tips makes a difference in your budget. Do you know why frugal gardening is great? You get a better results while spending less.
Dominika Styczynska enjoys sharing gardening advice. Check out her website for more free vegetable gardening tips.
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